Crocodile brand Lacoste will be swallowed by Swiss Group

Crocodile brand Lacoste will be controlled by Swiss Group

The French Crocodile brand of polo shirts and sportswear Lacoste (founded in 1933 by champion René Lacoster, had annual sales 2011 of EUR 1.6 billion (and 50 million textile parts), among also shoes, perfums, leather goods, watches, eyewear and belts) will be soon controlled by a majority of the shareholding capital

A family feud is leading to the sudden change of majority shareholder at French Lacoste. A group of family shareholders, including Company President Michel Lacoste are selling 30.3 % of their shareholdings to Swiss Maus Frères Group in Geneva, already owning before 35 % of Lacoste’s shareholding capital and now receiving the possibility of control of Lacoste. Experts earmark the company value at EUR 1 to 1.25 billion, thus the buying of the 30.3. % of the shares will cost the Swiss Group between EUR 300 to 380 million. Maus Frères owns and operates the department store group Manor, the Do-it-Yourself chain Jumbo, the sports goods chain Athleticum, the Swedish fashion company Gant, the clothing brand Aigle and Parashop drugstores, all added in 2011 to a turnover of CHF 5.3 billion with 22000 collaborators.

The family feud is between father Michel Lacoste (69) against the nomination of his 36 year-old daughter Sophie Lacoste-Doumel as company’s non-executive president, she has been a member of the board since 2005. He declared this an irregular decision by an irregular board. The daughter studied once business, but hasn’t spent a day of her life in business and is – according to her father – not able to manage a successful company. Michel Lacoste would prefer that his niece Beryl Lacoste-Hamilton (56) would take the helm and she had in the past run several of the compan’ys licensed affiliates, which sell a wide range of casual clothes.

The Lacoste holding by the family has been 65 % of equity and five votes (three independent and one was Patrick Thomas, Head of Hermès, now taking his hat, but he had voted in favour of Michel Lacoste and his niece) on the board, also Maus Frères have a vote of three,. Michele Lacoste was not re-elected as Chairman and replaced by Loic Armand, president of l’Oréal France cosmetic group. Lacoste will also fight against this decision. We would like to recall that there was also a harassment at Hermès and it looks like that family controlled fashion firms run into difficulties because of the differing interests of an widespread and growing family members. TextileFuture estimates that the last word at Lacoste is not yet stated!

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